Southwest Virginia Community College Awarded $1,378,568 Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Grant

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Aerial view of the campus and it's buildings

Southwest Virginia Community College (Southwest) has been awarded a $1,378,568 grant from The U.S. Department of Labor and the Appalachian Regional Commission through the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant program.

The grant is designated to reignite Appalachian economies through the development of local industry demands, by training a skilled workforce. A wide variety of trade programs and available resources make Southwest a prime candidate to fulfil the mission of the WORC grant.

“In order to grow our regional economy, we must expand our talent pipeline. Exposing high paying opportunities to a younger and broader audience will pay huge dividends by creating foundational employment resources needed by current and future businesses,” said Dr. Tommy Wright, President at Southwest Virginia Community College.

Emily Farmer, Grants Administrator at Southwest, says the newly announced funding will help create “The Academy for Advanced Manufacturing and the Trades” and “The Train the Trainer Program.”

The Academy includes an expansion of some of Southwest’s current programs of study. There will also be an initiative to equip local middle school teachers with curriculum, training (including continuing education credits), and virtual technology to introduce middle school students to advanced manufacturing and the trades.

“The grant will also fund an expansion of our current transportation and logistics programs to include a hybrid and electric vehicle repair certification and certified logistics associate and certified logistics technician programs,” said Farmer. “It is our goal to bolster local industry and employment with these newly funded initiatives and help Southwest Virginians gain training to earn high-skill, high-wage employment.”

“We are extremely excited about the positive outcomes this grant will render,” said John Mullins, Interim Dean of Workforce & Continuing Education.

The Workforce department at Southwest offers fast-track training for in-demand careers. Some of the programs offered can be completed in just 9 weeks.

“There is a shortage of skilled workers in our area, and this expanded capacity will help create new and better opportunities for our residents and employers alike,” said Mullins